The New York Mets announced on Friday night that infielder Wilmer Flores will not be tendered a contract for the 2019 season.
Flores will become a free agent, he was projected to make $4.7 through arbitration and was going to be a free agent after the 2019 season.
Flores has spent his entire six year major league career (10 seasons overall) with New York and is best known for his versatility, his visible emotions in a game against the Padres in 2015, and his proclivity for the dramatic.
Flores, 27, played several defensive positions for the Mets including all four infield positions. This made him a valuable late-inning replacement for manager Terry Collins and later Mickey Callaway as his flexibility allowed him to pinch-hit or be double switched for nearly anyone in the line-up.
In 2018, Flores’ slash line was .267/.319/.417 with 11 home runs in 429 plate appearances. He was often used against left-handed pitchers as his slugging percentage was nearly 60 points higher against southpaws for his career. Overall, his career line with the Mets was .262/.303/.424.
Flores captured many Mets’ fans hearts on a July 29, 2015 in a game against the San Diego Padres. During the game, he heard he was traded–along with Zack Wheeler–to the Milwaukee Brewers for Carlos Gomez.
Despite the rumors, Flores stayed in the game and became visibly emotional when he returned to the field. The Citi Field faithful gave him a standing ovation. After the game, he told the media that he was saddened to learn that he’d be leaving the only organization he had ever known. Ironically, the trade never happened as concerned arose during Gomez’s physical regarding his hip.
Two days later, he hit his first walk-off home run off his career in an extra-inning win against the Washington Nationals. As he rounded the bases he tugged repeatedly at his jersey, signifying his happiness at remaining a Met. Some say this hit, which was part of a doubleheader sweep of the then first-place Nationals, was one of the most important in the 2015 pennant run.
This would certainly not be the last walk-off for Mr. Flores.
Flores’ most indelible mark as a Met was his propensity for the dramatic. On July 9, 2018, he set a franchise record for walk-off RBI with 10, as he hit a pinch-hit home run against the Philadelphia Phillies in the first game of a doubleheader. He passed David Wright as the all-time Mets leader in walk-off RBIs. He also has the most walk-offs of anyone in baseball since 2014. This earned him the nickname Walk-off Wilmer.
Wilmer Flores will missed by a great many Mets fans. He certainly wasn’t a linchpin player for the team by any means, but his ability to play nearly anywhere on the field, openness with his emotions and flair for the unexpected will be missed. Thank you for the memories Wilmer and good luck in your future endeavors.